Eggplant-french lentil burgers and rosemary buttermilk buns

Eggplant-french lentil burger

I’ve been so distracted lately! I just can’t sit still! I just can’t focus. I’m an important person, dammit, I’ve got a busy schedule, I’ve got important things to attend to! There’s work to be done. Important work. And only I can do it! And it’s not getting done. Today I’ll gladly blame the boys, because they’re home from school. But yesterday…there’s really no excuse! I literally sat and read in Malcolm’s science almanac about endangered animals. For quite some time. Did you know that when sailors found dodos, they ate the birds, cut down their habitat, and released cats and other animals that destroyed their nests? What is wrong with people? I looked at pictures of baby okapi and baby tapirs. I looked at pictures of puppies (on rescue sites) that I can’t afford at the moment. Sigh. Today, though, after a staggeringly unproductive morning and cranky boys and lots of messes and more crankiness and unproductivity, we went to the Princeton art museum, which is one of our favorite places to go. There’s something heartening about all of the animal-figure art, from all over the world and all through the ages. Dogs, deer, opossums, pigs, cows, lizards, frogs. They all show up somewhere. When we go to an art museum, each person in the family picks an animal before we enter, and then we count how many we see. It really makes you look at all the little corners of the paintings, and at each little sculpture!

Buttermilk rosemary rolls

Of course I don’t really have any important work to do, I was just kidding. But I have made a lot of food lately I’d like to tell you about. Let’s start with these eggplant-french lentil burgers and buttermilk rosemary buns. We’ve gotten a lot of eggplant from the farm, and I’m trying not to bread and roast all of it. So I roasted a whole eggplant, pureed the flesh, mixed it with toasted ground oats and walnuts and some yummy french lentils, and made big juicy burgers. While I was making them, David tried to decide if he should use the crusts of bread for his sandwich, or save them for burger buns. I said, “Don’t be silly, I’m making burger buns. Who do you think I am?” And he said, “A crazy person!” And, of course, he’s right. But these buns were very tasty. They’re yeasted, but they have buttermilk in them. Very tender and delicious.

Here’s Jungle Brothers with Sounds of the Safari. It has lots of animal sounds. I don’t think tapirs or okapi make much noise, though.
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French cake a week – galettes du vexin

Galettes du vexin

This morning, after walking the boys to school, I came home and sat and listened to the silence. I was still feeling sleepy – both boys had been up through the night, and then somewhere nearby a screech owl had been calling. So this morning, I had a lovely feeling of sinking into the silence. Our house can be so noisy when both boys are in full, loud, little-boy mode. It’s nice to rest your ears, from time-to-time. I love quiet moments – in films, in conversations, in music.

Of course, there’s no such thing as real silence in our life, and the more I listened the more I heard. Our house it attached, and I could hear small sounds from our only neighbors, two stories up. We live on one of the few big streets in town, and it was as close to rush hour as we get around here. (Which is more likely to mean lots of dogs walking by, than lots of traffic.) Our house is old, it creaks; the birds sing outside; appliances hum; people call to one another out on the street. If you’ve ever made a film, you’re familiar with the noisiness of rooms, because you’ve recorded “room tone.” You’ve recorded the noises that each room makes. And these noises fill in the wordless moments of the film, because pure silence would be shocking. It would seem unnatural, and you’d know you were watching a movie. A fact Godard demonstrates delightfully in Bande a Part. You can’t really tell from this clip, but it’s a beautiful scene. And maybe, sitting in the cafe with Anna Karina, at the next table, perhaps, somebody was eating these Galettes du vexin. These little cakes are like a moment of silence in the teeming dessert section of my french cookbook. In a chapter filled with sugar and butter and icing and creams and cookies and jams and rum, these are barely sweet enough to be called dessert. They’re more like buttermilk biscuits! Or even scones. They contain creme fraiche, which is lovely, and was very fun and easy to make. I was smitten with its beautifully creamy appearance. The little cakes are tender and mild. They seem very simple, but they have a distinctive flavor, if you take the time to discern it. It’s like listening to the silence! The more you pay attention, the more you notice.

Here’s Anna Karina singing La Vie est Magnifique.
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mushroom walnut dumplings

mushroom walnut dumplings

Inside: Roasted mushrooms, walnuts, parsley and cheese. Outside: a biscuit-like crust made with whole wheat flour, toasted oats, rosemary, black pepper and buttermilk. I called these dumplings because of their shape, but it might be more accurate to call them stuffed biscuits. They’re not soft and flaky, like anything made with paté brisée. They’re a little heartier-tasting, so they’re nice with soup or something saucy. Or even a sauce! Like the herbed walnut sauce, perhaps. Each bite has subtle flavors of baked rosemary and black pepper, and you can pick them up and eat them with your hands! Always a bonus.

Here’s Big Joe Williams with King Biscuit Stomp
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